My Crazy Century

My Crazy Century


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My Crazy Century by Ivan Klima

In his intimate autobiography, spanning six decades that included war, totalitarianism, censorship, and the fight for democracy, acclaimed Czech writer Ivan Klíma reflects back on his remarkable life and this critical period of twentieth-century history.

Klíma’s story begins in the 1930s on the outskirts of Prague where he grew up unaware of his concealed Jewish heritage. It came as a surprise when his family was transported to the Terezín concentration camp—and an even greater surprise when most of them survived. They returned home to a city in economic turmoil and falling into the grip of Communism. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Klíma discovered his love of literature and matured as a writer. But as the regime further encroached on daily life, arresting his father and censoring his work, Klíma recognized the party for what it was: a deplorable, colossal lie. The true nature of oppression became clear to him and many of his peers, among them Josef Škvorecký, Milan Kundera, and Václav Havel. From the brief hope of freedom during the Prague Spring of 1968 to Charter 77 and the eventual collapse of the regime in 1989’s Velvet Revolution, Klíma’s revelatory account provides a profoundly rich personal and national history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802121707
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 10/22/2013
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Ivan Klima was born in Prague in 1931. He is the award-winning author of over 20 novels, including Waiting for the Dark, Waiting for the Light, No Saints or Angels, The Ultimate Intimacy, and Lovers for a Day—all New York Times Notable Books of the Year.

Craig Cravens (translator) has taught Czech language and culture for over 10 years; he is currently a senior lecturer at Indiana State University. He has a PhD in Slavic languages and literature from Princeton University and a BA from Amherst College in Russian Literature.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

Part I 3

Part II 219

Epilogue 415

Essays 417

Ideological Murderers 419

Utopias 426

The Victors and the Defeated 433

The Party 438

Revolution-Terror and Fear 445

Abused Youth 452

The Necessity of Faith 458

Dictators and Dictatorship 467

The Betrayal of the Intellectuals 475

On Propaganda 481

Dogmatists and Fanatics 491

Weary Dictators and Rebels 496

Dreams and Reality 503

Life in Subjugation 507

Occupation, Collaboration, and Intellectual Riffraff 511

Self-Criticism 517

(Secret Police) 522

The Elite 530

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